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Beyond the Boundary – the kicking process

SwansTV: Beyond the Boundary - the kicking process SwansTV takes a closer look at goal-kicking in the latest edition of Beyond the Boundary, powered by Volkswagen
Jesse White of the Sydney Swans in action during the 2013 AFL Round 19 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on August 04, 2013. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Jesse White demonstrates good kicking technique earlier this year
In a competition where every club strives for on-field perfection, goal kicking is still one area that has eluded even some of the greatest forwards and continues to be one of the most challenging skills to perfect in today’s game.

Celebrated Sydney Swans and St Kilda goal-kicking legend Tony Lockett, who scored an unbelievable 1360 career goals, averaged just under 70 per cent in front of goal (69.74), while Essendon forward Matthew Lloyd averaged 68.59 per cent. While Lockett and Lloyd’s averages are among the most impressive in the game’s history, they were still prone to the odd missed shot.

So far in 2013, ruckman Mike Pyke has been one of the best performers in front of goals with 20 goals at an impressive 74.1 per cent strike rate, while the club’s leading goal kicker Kurt Tippett has improved his accuracy, and is kicking at 60 per cent after eight games.

Skill Acquisition Coach Ben Moore is one of the Sydney Swans staff responsible for setting the players on the right path when it comes to goal kicking.

Moore, who comes from a sports science background, said repetition, consistency and setting a clear target are all elements towards successful goal kicking.

“There are a couple of things to consider,” Moore told SwansTV’s Beyond the Boundary program.

“First of all, having a relatively simple repeatable technique, for want of a better word, and a consistent method for what you’re doing is the most important thing.

“Secondly if you’re kicking a set shot for goal, just having some clear target or outcome of where you want the ball to go to.

“If you were starting from the beginning you’d want a simple repeatable technique that you could undertake in any situation, and also just having a simple targeting method when you’re kicking a set shot for goal.”

While there are a number of clear steps for goal kicking, Moore said it was not as simple as one technique fits all, with height and body size playing a role in individual goal-kicking techniques.

“You’ve got guys of different heights, different shapes and sizes, and one ideal kicking technique probably doesn’t exist,” Moore said.

“There definitely isn’t a single technique which you should try to instil on every single player, but having said that there are physical consistencies that apply to anyone kicking the ball whether you be a beginner to a six-foot-seven Mike Pyke, Jesse White or Kurt Tippett.

“There isn’t one ideal technique which you try to coach every player to undertake.”

One player Moore said has made improvements in his goal kicking since joining the club is Luke Parker, who has kicked 15 goals for the Swans this season.
Moore said Parker’s improvement has come through a disciplined approach to training.

“Luke has probably improved consistency since arriving at the club,” he said.

“He’s done a lot of consistent practice across that time during pre-season and during the season and he’s got a standard approach and is disciplined on every kick.

“He has done a fair bit of video work in his earlier years and in the first 18 months at the club when he joined.

“He’s done video feedback where he’s picked up some points and most importantly he’s stuck at it over those years and put what he’s done in practice into a game.”

Moore identified draftee Tim Membrey as one of the club’s natural goal kicking talents, which has seen him kick 30 goals in the NEAFL this year.

“Tim’s got a good size for a goal kicker,” he said.

“He’s strongly built with powerful limbs with good strong legs.

“He’s got a sort of classical AFL kicking technique so his kicking leg swings through pretty straight and he’s in control of his upper body and lower body as he kicks the ball and has a very compact technique.

“He came to the club with that and probably has just increased the amount of practice he’s doing to fine tune some elements of that."